Three people have been arrested in the Alicante town of Torrevieja, suspected of conning foreigners through a scam involving real estate and documentation.
The three people, two men aged 47 and 50, and a woman aged 34, were arrested by the Guardia Civil after the investigation revealed that the trio, two of whom were domestic partners and the third a lawyer, are alleged to have earned the trust of their victims and then con them out of significant amounts of money for services never performed, or charged at a significantly higher rate for services which are either free or cost a minimal amount.
For example, the team would charge 800 euro for the processing of a foreigners identity number (NIE), 3,500 euro for a solvency certificate, and even taking up to 30,000 euro for deposits on properties for sale.
Many of the deposits were taken without the express consent of the owner, or without the deposit being transferred to them, and in some cases taking multiple deposits for the same property.
Once the money was collected, the client relationship was then disregarded and the money not returned, with many of the victims reluctant to file complaints due to the apparent complexity of doing so, and of the case.
Thanks to the intervention of the investigators, the group only managed to defraud around a dozen people on this occasion, although they have been subject to similar investigations previously.
The three people were remanded in custody, although one was released on bail, and will appear in court charged with offences of real estate fraud, falsifying documentation, fraudulent processing of official acts and of being part of a criminal gang, facing prison for their actions.